Many migraine sufferers may find relief by taking plain old acetaminophen, a new study says.
Migraine headaches affect from 5 percent to 7 percent of men and up to 19 percent of women. Most people who suffer from migraines already reach for over-the-counter medicines, but their effectiveness hasn't been clear.
In the current issue of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers describe the results of a study of 289 people in the throes of a migraine headache. Half took 1,000 milligrams of acetaminophen, and half took dummy pills that looked the same. McNeil Consumer Healthcare Co., which makes the acetaminophen painkiller Tylenol, funded the study.
Two hours later, about 58 percent of the people who took acetaminophen said their pain had declined or gone away, while 39 percent of the placebo takers said they felt better. About 22 percent of the acetaminophen takers were without pain completely, compared with 11 percent of the placebo group.